Not much to say about, except that Thomas Frank apparently wonders now why the hell he bothered to write What’s The Matter With Kansas?* – and my but he is bitter about it. What makes it kind of entertaining, in an admittedly not-nice way, is that he almost gets the real problem:
For the ruling faction of the Democratic party, meanwhile, I felt like the Kansas story triggered a bout of guilty conscience. To begin with, there was something true at the core of all the conservative bullshit: we really are ruled by a meritocratic, professional elite — just look at the members of the president’s cabinet, or who gets interviewed on NPR — and a great number of meritocratic believers really are found in the ranks of the Democrats. As a party, they are openly in love with expertise; it is who they are; it means more to them than any ideology. It’s the awful story of “The Best and the Brightest” repeating itself over and over and over again.
…so close. So, so close: but I suppose that Salon wouldn’t have bought an article that followed up that thought with So perhaps the Right is correct in the rest of its critiques and world-views. See, that’s what’s the ‘matter’ with Kansas. Voters there became increasingly aware that the people running the Democratic party now aren’t the ones who were running the party back in the day; and that the major difference was that the people running the Democratic party back in the day were competent. Today, they just worship technocracy. The difference is subtle, yet important.
But what do I know? I’m just this guy with a liberal arts degree from a state school** in New Jersey: Thomas Frank has a PhD from the University of Chicago. Clearly he’s better positioned to lecture people on populism than I am…
*You can tell how meaningful the book is from my disinclination to construct an Amazon.com link to it. Why bother? Nobody would click on it anyway.
**Trenton State College. And no, I’m never going to call it by – that other name.